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katey denno makeup bag

Makeup Bag: Katey Denno’s All-Natural Labor Day Skin & Makeup Staples

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Celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno (she works with Gwyneth Paltrow, Amanda Seyfried, Felicity Jones, and a slew of other A-listers) has an affinity for all-natural products. In an interview with Beauty Banter a couple of years ago, she said: “I began my career in social work helping women feel better, and I love that I still get to do just that every single day. I’m extremely passionate about the burgeoning green beauty component, and love finding out about new products made with ingredients that are safe enough to eat.” We caught up with Katey yet again to find out what are the latest and greatest green products in her makeup bag, and how we could curate our very own all-natural Labor Day beauty arsenal. Here are Katey’s current healthy skin and makeup staples:

1. RL Linden + Co Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist ($48) – This amazingly scented blend of hydrating and calming hydrosols, oils, and essences goes with me everywhere. It’s the first thing that goes on my face, and I refresh with it all day long. It doubles as my perfume and deodorant at times, too.

2. Jennette All Natural Skin Care, Potion #2 ($150) – After struggling with breakouts for most of my life, I reached my late 30’s and realized I’d neglected to use anti-aging serums in favor of anti-blemish treatments. Whoops! Luckily, this awesome LA-based facialist created a product that actually combats signs of aging for skin prone to acne. Hallelujah!

3. Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($40) – This oil is super hydrating but surprisingly light, and has absolutely helped turn back the clock on some of my sun damage. Three drops is all I need, every morning, and I’m hydrated throughout the day.

4. Ren Active 7 Eye Gel ($30) – I don’t like a heavy eye cream in the summer, so this light gel is perfect. It’s cooling and hydrating and is a great base for a touch of concealer.

5. Jane Iredale Lip Scrub ($25) – I love the sleek size of this container, and I think everyone should use a lip scrub, every day. It gets rid of the scaly flakiness before it starts and leaves lips feeling so healthy and hydrated in a way I never knew I needed, but now I can’t do without.

6. Utowa Eyelash Curler ($22) – I love the angle of the pad and the length of the head of the curler, and since I’ve been trying to go without mascara (really tough for a blonde lashed girl) this summer, a serious curl of the lashes is always my focus.

7. Nvey Eco Volumizing Mascara ($17) – Despite becoming more comfortable with my blonde lashes by day, when the sun goes down, I always feel the need to make my lashes stand out. A few coats of this is the perfect mid-weight way to accentuate lashes.

8. Ilia Cosmic Dancer Illuminator ($34) – This is such a staple in both my personal makeup kit and what I use for work. It melts into my skin, is just the right color for me (really a non-color), and I apply it with the tip of my ring finger to my cheek bones after blush, to my cupid’s bow, sometimes to my lips, and to my lids. A little goes a long way.

9. RMS Lip2Cheek in Demure ($36)- It’s a soft, cool pink with a lot of punch. I get compliments on my cheek color constantly when I wear this creamy, coconut-based shade. I’ll often press some into my lips as well, and top with some balm.

10. Bite Beauty Lip Crayon ($24) – For a more intense punch, I’ve been favoring this super easy to wear pop of deep fuschia. I’ll press it into my lips with my finger, and then blend what’s left on my finger onto the apples of my cheeks if I’m looking pale. It’s great for a sheer application for day, and fantastic with a more intense touch for night.

11. Dalish Illumination Concealer ($22) – This all-natural Canadian brand does a great job providing just enough coverage in the perfect texture – especially for summer. I like using the wand to lightly dot the product along the darkest portion of my under eye circles. Using a clean finger, I lightly press it in, making sure not to feather it to the outer edges – avoiding creasy crows feet at all costs!

12. Intelligent Nutrients Curly Hair Serum ($32) – My hair always wants to frizz. Nine out of ten times when someone compliments me on my hair, it’s because I’ve worked this product in while it was still damp, followed by another dollop of it once it dried. The scent is earthy and delicious and doesn’t attract bugs, which is often my gripe with other hair de-frizzing creams.

13. Detoxifying Body Oil ($58) – I have about 25 bottles of body oil in my bathroom, and another 3-5 on my bedside table. Despite this, I never have trouble deciding which to use each day. I always know exactly which scent and viscosity I want based on the weather/time of year/state of my skin. This light, fresh fig, myrtle, and apricot kernel-infused oil is just what I crave towards the end of summer – both the lightweight, easily-absorbed aspect, and the addictive scent.

14. Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint ($45) – I love the look of bronzer, but hate the tell-tale ‘I used a bronzer’ look of most cream and liquids that are chock-full of reflective pigments and shimmer particles. This sheer, lightweight, super faint bronzing tint is moisturizing enough to use on its own, but I generally mix it with either my face oil and dab along the highlights of my face, or with body oil before I slather up my legs. I’m not sure if it really makes my cellulite disappear, but I think it does, and that’s all that matters.

15.Herban Essentials Towelettes ($16) – These are key for me because I apply everything with my hands, and I never want to touch my face unless my finger tips are freshly cleaned. The lavender scent is a total bonus, and serves a double duty, helping to keep bugs away.

*For more Katey, read her first makeup bag interview here.


Makeup Bag: Ayla Beauty Founder Dara Kennedy

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“I grew up in a family of educators: My parents, both teachers, viewed each moment as an opportunity to learn something. During the summers, that often meant whisking us off to another country (or two, or three) where we’d spend every day visiting monuments and museums, taking breaks to enjoy local cuisine. My parents really invested in education, and a major part of that was introducing me to our larger world.

I didn’t appreciate all of that nearly enough as a child (shocking, I know), but I do now. I adore travel, whether I’m visiting an entirely new place or re-visiting a favorite one. It opens my mind to new things and new points of view, while at the same time reminding me of who I am. And I do think we can learn so much — so much — from people who see things differently from the way that we do.

Now that I have two kids, travel is different: Trips by myself, or with my husband, are warp-speed fast because we hate being away from the kids. And trips with the kids, who are still very young, involve toting insane amounts of luggage and looking for lodging with tons of space so that we have room to stretch out and a whisper of a shot at getting a good night’s sleep. But I generally find that packing for myself is a total breeze, especially during the summer, because my clothes are pretty simple and I have toiletry-packing down to a science.

These are some of my top end-of-summer picks that are great for travel, too.

M Picaut Hydra Miracle Serum ($105) – This is a weightless, line-plumping serum with two types of hyaluronic acid and a number of other ingredients (like tamarind fruit extract) that really help improve moisture content and boost elasticity in the skin, with no greasiness or weight. It’s a great product to use underneath a moisturizer while flying, or to “cut” an oil or lotion that is a little too heavy. I’ve been using it myself for the past month and love it.

BioRecept Hydra’Fluide ($42)- This is one of BioRecept’s best sellers at CityPharma — partly because it’s a great value, but mainly because it’s such a great product for combination skin, which so many people have. It sinks in for perfectly moisturized, soft skin with no shininess. In France, they describe it as “peau de pêche”: skin like a fresh peach.

BANXBlock Stick SPF 30 ($10) – BANXBlock is the official sunscreen of USA Water Polo, the LA County Lifeguards, and a bunch of professional paddleboarders and surfers. They love it because it’s zinc-based, non-greasy, and very water resistant: unlike a lot of other sticks, this one doesn’t melt and run into your eyes. It’s kind of a miracle. I keep one in my handbag wherever I go and use it on myself as well as my kids throughout the day (they love it, too). If you’re going to the beach, there’s nothing better to protect your face.

Suntegrity Lip CPR SPF 30 in Sunburst Pink ($28) – I was so excited when this lipstick came out: Many of us desperately need sunscreen on our lips, since that delicate skin is particularly susceptible to sun damage. But it’s always been hard to find a good lip SPF with physical sunscreen (one that uses minerals like zinc oxide rather than chemical sunscreens like oxybenzone, which has been linked to hormone-like activity in the body and can cause serious damage to coral reefs if you wear it in the ocean). This lipstick protects with super-safe zinc oxide AND has a beautifully deep, modern, mauve-y pink, so it’s a win-win.

Boucleme Hydrating Hair Cleanser ($25) – This shampoo was featured in Vogue for its ability to foster soft, bohemian waves. What’s nice about it as opposed to many other non-foaming curl cleansers is that it produces a mild lather to cleanse in a satisfying way without stripping. It also features Dead Sea salt to boost volume and scalp circulation, as well as a suite of oils to keep hair hydrated.

Les Fleurs de Bach Jet Lag Elixir ($37) – I swear by this product while traveling: I used it to help me avoid jet lag on a 3-day trip to Paris, and the time change between San Francisco and Paris didn’t bother me at all. (I forgot to take it on a similarly short trip to Florence a few months later, and I was a jet-lagged disaster.) Everyone who’s tested it for us has had great results, too. It’s amazing. And it’s safe for kids!

Les Fleurs de Bach SOS Cream ($26) – I can’t say enough good things about this little Parisian company! I love their SOS Cream, too. It’s great at calming random skin irritations, which tend to increase in the summertime — I just used it on my son’s face, which was covered with huge welts from some sort of bug attack, and he actually liked using it! I love its scent and texture so much that I use it as a hand cream. It’s just lovely.”

Ayla Beauty Founder Dara Kennedy


Memorial Day Weekend Beauty Bag Must-Haves

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Since Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of summer, you won’t want to look anything but your best.  If you have weekend travel plans and the mere thought of packing all of your products into a single makeup bag is causing you stress, fear not.  We’re here to help.  What you need is simple: A few key multitasking products with staying power. After all, makeup that lasts from day-to-night is no easy feat.

Supergoop! Shine On Lip Screen SPF 50 ($22) not only protects your pucker, but also imparts a non-sticky yet high-gloss sheen.

To condition and treat while simultaneously taming a wild mane, look no further than Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil ($20).

For coverage that doesn’t require touch-ups, rely on Lancome Effarcernes Waterproof Long-Lasting Undereye Concealer ($31).  Better yet, you can count on it not to crease.

Don’t you dare resort to the sun to give your face some color – BECCA Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle ($27) can do it for you! Use it on cheeks, brow bones, and even lips.

Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara ($31) is the only mascara I trust in the water and high-temps. The unique tubular formula doesn’t budge until you want it to, meaning its stronger than the good ole fashion waterproof formulas!

Instead of packing three different products, rely on CoverFX BB Gel Mattifying Anti-Blemish Treatment ($45) to conceal, treat, and control shine.

The last thing you want to pack in a small getaway bag is a full brush collection. Smashbox Telephoto 3-in-1 Face Brush ($41) adapts to different formulas and coverage preferences simply with a twist – genius!

Personally, I’ll be putting everything in this Tumi Travel Cosmetic Case ($125) – the various compartments keep you – and your beauty products – organized.

-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind


Makeup Bag: Josie Maran

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“I was 12 years old and I was watching a TV commercial and I saw Christy Turlington in a Maybelline ad. She was walking down a New York City street, turning around and looking all cute at the camera and I remember thinking, “I want to be that girl,” the Maybelline girl. I crossed my fingers and prayed every night until I got the Maybelline contract when I was 18. I was so into it! Maybelline’s Great Lash Mascara was the only makeup I owned up until I was 20. That really shaped my whole makeup career and life.

My modeling career started when I was 12 years old at a family BBQ. This lady at the BBQ asked me to do a Benetton fashion show in San Francisco and there was a modeling scout there who asked me to come in. From 12 to 17 years old, I modeled in San Francisco. It definitely wasn’t high fashion but I was doing some gigs. I was modeling for Esprit, Macy’s, and Levis and the makeup was very natural looking but I was always interested at how the makeup would transform me from shoot to shoot. I was a different person at each of these shoots and I found it really fascinating being able to change into a different character through makeup. I’ve always seen makeup as an art form, so I would ask the makeup artists if they studied painting. They were always using their fingers to blend instead of using a proper brush. Everyone had their own technique and it felt very creative and artistic. My question to these makeup artists was always the same, “What is your interest in painting and art?” and they would all have their own stories and it was just so interesting. I never saw makeup as something as simple as stuff that’s put on my face because I’m a model. For me, it was and is a very beautiful, artistic experience.

Becoming the Maybelline girl threw me into a much deeper business of makeup. I learned about marketing a brand, behind-the-scenes of product launches, and how they decide on colors – the whole breadth of the business of makeup which was all very interesting to me because I’m an entrepreneur by heart. I also got to work with the best makeup artists in the world. They were doing serious makeup looks on me and we had tons of shoots every year. I became really interested in the makeup artistry of it – the techniques and colors. On the flip side, I was also really excited about the business aspect.

I came from San Francisco from a very healthy, socially conscious family, so when I realized I really enjoyed this business and I enjoyed the power of makeup on me, I began to look into what was in makeup – natural makeup, toxic makeup, what was good for me, etc. Every single person told me it would be impossible to create high performing natural makeup. I didn’t think that was true and I wanted to prove them wrong, for my own rebel sake. I also still wanted to wear makeup but didn’t want the negative effects of it. My grandmother had breast cancer, so I am really sensitive to chemicals. My mom has chronic fatigue syndrome and she’s had it for 20 years. Any chemical in our life was a no-no. I wanted to see if I could make great makeup that was also good for you and that was the beginning!

I didn’t do my own makeup for a long time because I was spoiled and had makeup put on me everyday, all day, by the best people. Once I became very interested in makeup, I started to pay attention and I found there’s this whole vault of secrets and tricks. I learned from the best. Most of the makeup artists I worked with used their hands and their fingers. I felt like I was their canvas and they were finger painting. I would buy the same products they were using on me and I would go home and play with these looks. Eventually, I would make all my favorite products, but naturally.

Now I do my own makeup and that really came with time, as my confidence grew. I do makeup for my friends and I teach people how to put on makeup, because makeup seems really scary at first but it’s really not. It’s a total confidence booster for women to know how to put on their own makeup and to also know that it looks good and feels good. I use my fingers mostly and I constantly blend. It’s kind of like chalk pastels, which I love doing as well, so I suppose that’s my connection to makeup. A lot of powders and creams are like that, so I just put them on and blend and blend and add. It’s really fun. My signature look and the one thing I love is eyeliner in the inner rim of my eye. I also love golds, coppers, and browns – a smokey eye, blended out. And a natural pinky lip.

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler: I’m obsessed, I can’t live without it, and I have a serious addiction when the curler pulls at my lashes. It’s like when a smoker needs nicotine in their lungs, I need to tug on my lashes.

Priti Nail Polish: It’s a natural nail polish brand. I like naked nails, like a pinky light pink and I also love a sparkling navy blue. I’m obsessed with that on my toes. It’s like a starry night on my toes. The first time I did it, I felt so connected to everything and powerful, but now I just love how intense it looks.

Mason Pearson Brush: My dad is partly from London and I just grew up with this brand. It feels so good and I feel like it’s taking care of my hair.

Plantlife Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oil: It’s a little dropper that you can get at Whole Foods. I put a tiny bit on my palms and on my neck, and sometimes on my pillow at night. Before any big show or presentation, I put it on. Lavender is super calming, simple, not too expensive, and just a really easy way to calm your senses. I never used any kind of fragrance when I was young, but I grew up with lavender. We used to have it growing in our yard. I’m currently working on a natural fragrance right now!

Josie Maran Argan Balm: We have a travel size now. This is used often for your eyebrows to keep them in place, as a hair styling balm, and also for any intensely dry areas like elbows.

Josie Maran Argan Oil: This is great for hydrating cuticles and under your eyes. The travel size goes with me everywhere.

Josie Maran Argan Brightening Bronzer: I’m obsessed with this. I think bronzer helps you look healthier. A great trick when applying bronzer, is to make the number 3 from your temple down to your chin. So with your bronzer brush, start at your forehead/temple, curve into your cheekbone as if you were writing the number 3 and then curve under your chin. Apply on both sides, so a backwards 3 and a regular 3, on each side of your face. I also like using my bronzer as eyeshadow.

Josie Maran Argan High Gloss Lip Quench: It’s like argan oil in a tube. It’s a lip gloss but it’s super, duper shiny and moisturizing. It’s a clear, sheer color. I love wearing this over a matte lipstick and I also put it on before bed as a lip treatment.

Josie Maran Magic Marker in Flamenco: You can use this on your cheeks and on your lips. It’s super high pigmented. A great trick when using this is to pop out the Magic Marker back and you’ll get this little bit of color, which you can mix with rosewater or argan oil for your own stain/blush. I love the Flamenco, which is super red and the Quickstep which is a sheer berry.

Josie Maran Argan Eyeliner in Black Raven: It’s 100% natural and what I like to do is apply it on the rims [waterline] of my eyes. Then I put it on my top lash line, all the way out – I love to smudge this part.

Josie Maran Limited Edition Argan Eyeshadow Quad: This is perfect for a natural smokey eye. Going lightest to darkest with the four colors, I use my finger – usually my middle finger – to apply the lightest color all over the base of my eye and all the way up to my brow bone. It’s a highlighter shade. With the second color I put all over on the base and with the third color, I apply just on the outside corners of my eyes. I make a sideways “V” going from the outer corner of my eyelid. Finally, with the shimmering black color, I put it all over the black eyeliner that I applied over the lash line and I continue down to my lower lash line as well. With the highlighter shade, I put that on the inner corners of my eye. I finish this look off with my Josie Maran GOGO Instant Voluminizing Mascara. That’s my idea of the perfect smokey eye.

Josie Maran GOGO Instant Voluminizing Mascara: We have a Get One, Give One program, so for every one we sell, we give one to a woman recovering from cancer. This has a natural carbon black, so it’s super black and naturally good for you. It also has a triple V brush and that gives you triple volume. It separates itself and gives you big, full lashes and because of the argan oil in there, your lashes will still feel soft.

Josie Maran Color Stick in Rosy: For my day look, I wear tinted moisturizer, Rosy on my lips and my cheek, and my mascara. It’s a perfect sheer rose color that looks great on everyone. I don’t use a mirror when I apply. Because it’s sheer, I just pop it on my cheeks and blend with my fingers. On my lips, I use it like a chapstick. It’s my blush, my lip moisturizer, and also color for the day. And it’s an Allure Best of Beauty Winner!

Dr. Hauschka Lipstick in Sand Dune: I like this lipstick because it’s natural, very hydrating, and provides full coverage.

Josie Mara Argan Magic Marker Liquid Eye Liner in Cinnamon: I love a sleek cat-eye when I do a stained red lip – instead of a full-on smokey eye. I use my lightest color, Cinnamon, as my eyeshadow and then I apply my liquid black liner.

My sister-in-law has a company called Newbark and their bags come with these really cool inner pouches that snap into the purse. I use the inner pouches for my makeup.” -Josie Maran of Josie Maran Cosmetics


Makeup Bag: Pamela Love

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“Beauty, for me, is definitely about confidence. It’s not about subscribing to any idea of beauty, it’s about feeling comfortable and confident in yourself, feeling like you look the best that you can look. I think it’s also about having fun, like a fantasy. Being able to explore different worlds, almost. It’s a combination of being confident, being happy with how you look, and also being able to have fun with the way you look.

My first experiences with makeup were definitely when I was really little, maybe 6 or so. My grandmother would get the Clinique gift-with-purchase and she would always give me all of the products and I would take them and put them all over my face. I had no idea, no concept of what looked good, but I thought it was so fun to be able to put it on and pretend to be a grown-up. I think I’ve always had a love affair with beauty products, especially makeup, since I was little.  There’s a fantasy element that I’ve always really enjoyed.

As I’ve grown older, I haven’t had as much time to play with makeup like I did when I was younger. I definitely spent a lot of time putting on my makeup when I was in high school and middle school. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had less time.  so for me now, I think it’s more about having those key products that I know I love and that I can put on really quickly. Less about experimentation and more about the old faithful staples. 
I don’t really have a beauty icon. For me it’s about taking my features and doing the best I can with them. I try not to look at somebody else and copy their makeup because what’s going to look good for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another person.

Designing jewelry and beauty is all part of the fantasy — playing dress-up and feeling confident in yourself. I think of jewelry as armor or protection and I feel like when women wear my jewelry they feel really bad ass, strong, and confident. I think that makeup serves the same function. They are both part of this fantasy of being whomever you imagined you want to be that day.

In my makeup bag I have:

Chanel Blush in Rose Bronze: I think it’s a really great color. I’ve been using it for years and it’s really flattering. I even put it on my eyes sometimes. It’s the perfect color for my skin and Chanel just makes such good products.

Stila Eyeliner in Tigers Eye: I have green eyes so I like a lot of these red, brown, purple-y colors that bring out green. This pencil is such a perfect one. It’s really soft, it goes on effortlessly, it smudges right, and it’s just really pretty. I’ve been wearing it religiously for a few years now.

MAC Eyeshadow in Embark: It’s another rusty, purple-y brown that’s really good for green eyes. It’s good for bringing out the color. I wear this eyeshadow day and night.

DiorShow Brown Mascara:For mascara, I never wear black, I always wear brown. I like long lashes but I want to imagine that they’re natural and I feel like if they’re brown, they are a little more natural. The DiorShow Brown is a really good one.

Korres Lip Gloss in Pomegranate: I really like these lip glosses from Korres. I have them in a bunch of colors but the color I have in my makeup bag right now is Pomegranate. They’re all sheer colors but my lips are always dry and they’re really great for moisture and for a bit of color.

Lancome in Lucky Kiss: I like a lot of lip colors that are nude, almost the color of your lips but they give a plumping effect. This one makes your lips looks really full and plump without really doing anything too crazy.

Brow Set (from MAC): I also really like eyebrow gel because I’m trying to grow my eyebrows out right now and they’re a nightmare. I was one of those girls who tweezed their eyebrows her whole life, growing up in south Florida where everyone’s eyebrows were a line. Trying to grow them back out so they look normal, I use this tinted eyebrow gel from MAC.

La Prairie Skin Caviar Moisturizer: It’s a great moisturizer that I discovered a couple years ago and I love it. It’s amazingly moisturizing.

Clarins Face Oil: When I don’t feel like using a moisturizer, I prefer using an oil. I don’t get crazy blemishes but I do get dry skin and so for that, sometimes you need the big guns. You can’t get away with a moisturizer, you actually need to put oil on your face.

Armani Foundation: I don’t really like foundation; my problem isn’t necessarily blemishes or anything, it’s dryness. Foundation doesn’t help with the dryness. Just putting a moisturizer and an oil helps with the dryness. If I were to go out and wear foundation, it’s Armani. It’s really good isn’t too heavy ; it makes for a flawless finish.

Joanna Vargas: I use a lot of products from Joanna Vargas. They’re really cleansing and they make your skin feel great. My favorite is the Rejuvenating Serum.

Sisley Lipstick in L25: I love red lipstick. It’s beautiful. It’s a really nice rich red.

Maybelline 14-Hour Lipstick in Ravishing Rouge: I like things to stay on for a really long time. This one is a bright matte red. I like a matte red sometimes. I wear red once in a blue moon because I think it’s very glamorous. There’s something very French about it and I almost feel like a different person. It changes your face and sometimes it’s nice to have a change.

I like nail polish a lot. I love Essie, I think they’re great. I also really like Deborah Lippmann. I love hot pink or a dark purple or a deep red.  I don’t get to paint my nails very often because I work with my hands so much, so when I paint my toes, I go crazy. The other day I had metallic silver, that almost looked like tin foil. It’s fun to be able to go crazy with that.

Covergirl Eye Brightening Shadow Palette in Vivid Green: I’m a fan of those eye brightening products that everyone has now. Every brand has an eyeshadow that’s good if you have green eyes or an eyeshadow that’s good if you have blue eyes. I wear this when I feel like wearing a smoky eye when I’m going out. I put a lot of the reddish brown around the eye and then fan it out with something lighter. Sometimes I’ll put a little of the Chanel blush on, to add to it.Korr

My makeup bag is a black bag from a drugstore. I always carry my makeup bag with me. I never know, when I leave for work, when I’m coming home, if I have to go somewhere. I’ve been like that my whole life — I always needed an extra big purse so I can carry all my makeup.” –Pamela Love

*Pamela Love is the founder and designer of the Pamela Love jewelry line; @pamelalovenyc

{from the archives}


Makeup Bag: The Beauty Department’s Kristin Ess

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“My first memory of playing with hair revolved around Barbie, of course. Typical 5 to 7-year-old phase of wanting to braid and chop that nylon hair. The first time I played with hair on a human was my own. I was watching Madonna’s “Material Girl” video and I went in and curled my bangs, feathered them like hers and then bumped the ends under. Nothing could stop me that day. I didn’t know how rare it was for a 7-year-old to curl and style her own hair until much later. I just knew I wanted that hair. Oh, and that dress with the big pink bow.

I got into the hair business early. It was my first job. Actually, it’s been my only job. I’ve never done anything else. I was 15 going on 16 when a nice man who was friends with my aunt gave me a job as an apprentice. I was able to go to school until noon, then work in the salon from 2-9pm. I would take three buses from the valley to Century City – really far – and do my homework on the way. I graduated from high school at 17, and then got my own chair at the salon. I lied to all my clients and told them I was 23 because no one was going to trust a kid to do their hair. I still have a lot of those clients and now we laugh about how I stayed 25 for 5 years.

My biggest professional accomplishment happened [when] Allure put me in their Best of the Best directory. It’s like winning an Oscar in the hair world. It’s an incredible honor because your name is next to some of the greatest talents that you could never imagine it being next to. I think I threw the magazine across the room when I read it because I was so shocked. Had to go out and buy another one right away!

Over the years, my makeup has changed a lot. I used to wear major liner and a red lip to work every day. That was fun but now every minute of my free time is taken up by The Beauty Department. My makeup is definitely more natural now, but I always keep my liners, lashes, and lip colors with me – as you see in my bag – for going out.

I’m not a huge follower of trends. I like a bronzy, dewy, glowy look for the day-to-day. It’s my go-to thing and I can do it in exactly 11 minutes. I love to talk beauty trends, obviously, and I love to try them, but it never really becomes part of my signature look. I pair that makeup with my flaming red wavy hair and I feel like a mermaid every day!

My job as a blogger doesn’t affect my makeup preferences but it does introduce me to many things I wouldn’t have picked up on my own. Obviously one of the big perks of being a blogger is having stuff arrive in boxes at the office. Sometimes I stumble upon something I wouldn’t have purchased that quickly becomes a staple on my vanity. I love getting things from new brands, too. Helping a company get off the ground is so satisfying if the product is great. Even if it’s just a little boost. It’s fun to support the small guys, too.

I pick up incredible tips from makeup artists on set. In fact, one of my closest friends, Lottie, is a makeup artist. That girl has some kind of special God-given gift when it comes skin and makeup. She taught me her secret and then told me if I ever tell, she would kill me. I take that very seriously. She was also the one who taught me to do my eyeliner with my eyes open, looking straight into a mirror. It’s one of those no-brainers that we seem to forget. I always tilted my head back to start but she told me to try just looking straight ahead. I made my first perfect pair of swoops that day. Then you tilt your head back to finish the rest. Such a great tip.

My makeup bag is from Zara. The label said it was a clutch, but all I saw was a very glamorous makeup bag.

Shu Uemura Face Architect Illuminating Moisturizing Foundation – I found this at Shu in Paris on my last trip. The most glowing, moisturizing foundation I have ever experienced.

Tom Ford Beauty Bronzing Powder in Terra – This was an impulse buy while I was at the Tom Ford counter. I’m SO pale; needed a little boost on the bronze. I’ve now been using it for a year and a half.

Sephora + Pantone Makeup Brushes – I saw these in the window of Sephora while strolling around Miami. Had to get them because that green is so on point! It’s such a happy green.

Random Lashes from Koreatown – I always go to Koreatown in Los Angeles. I buy short lashes in full strips instead of long lashes. I use these to fill and thicken at the base of my lashes. My own are plenty long, I just want them to appear more dense and these work so well.

Bare Minerals Ready Translucent Touch Up Veil SPF 15 – This is one of those powders that’s perfectly mattifying and completely weightless. I have found that some translucent powders are too white, but this one is completely transparent. I also like that it comes in a compact instead of loose powder form.

Bare Minerals Loud + Clear Tinted Lip Balm in Amped Pink, Remix Berry, and Tangerine Trance – These were in my gift bag when I spoke at IFC in New York. They quickly became my new favorite tinted lip balm. The texture reminds me of those thin tubes I got as a teenager called Soft Lips. I’m obsessed because it gives just the right amount of stain.

Bare Minerals Flawless Definition Mascara in Black – I got this in the same IFC gift bag as well. I will never go back to my old mascara! This one is like a liner and a mascara in one tube. The brush is so amazing and really gets into the base of your lashes making them look SO thick and not in a chunky way.

Essie Twin Sweater Set + Seche Vite – Taking it classic this fall with this perfect red shade from Essie, and I always have to put a coat of Seche Vite over my nails.

Stila In The Light Eyeshadow Palette – I bought this a year ago and I can officially say that there’s nothing you can’t do with this palette. Whether I’m going into the salon to work or on a hot date, I can rely on it to get my eye makeup just right. And I love having just ONE for everything!

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in Matte Brown – I’ve had a hard time finding a liner that won’t run off my waterline. Finally, I found it. I use it in brown because it just looks better and softer than black for me and my complexion.

BeautyCounter Rosewater Uplifting Spray – It’s so simple and so clean with zero bad ingredients. The beautiful packaging caught my attention but the amazing product inside kept me coming back. I love using it to set my makeup. I don’t like when my makeup looks overly-fresh, so once I’m done I use one spritz over the top of everything. Magical.

RMS Beauty “Un” Cover Up – This concealer changed my game. It’s coconut based and so dreamy! I have some redness and need to cover it but every single concealer I used in the past irritated my skin. But this stuff feels like heaven and makes my skin look bright and happy. If I was going to lunch with a friend, I could use just this with no foundation. It’s that good.”

— Kristin Ess, celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of The Beauty Department


Makeup Bag: Nicky Hilton

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“I have loved makeup for as long as I can remember. I have early memories playing in my mother’s makeup drawer. What initially drew me to cosmetics was the taste of them. I was obsessed with Bonne Bell Lip Smackers lip glosses. My friends and I collected and traded them . My favorites were vanilla frosting and watermelon. As I matured, so did my taste. I became all about Chanel makeup… probably because that’s what I would snatch from my mother. I loved the smell of it, especially their nail polish remover. I know it sounds weird, but it smells so good! Like perfume.

I took a break from makeup for a while and then was reintroduced to it in my early teens by my older sister, Paris. The first thing she showed me was black eyeliner. She told me that it made you look grown-up. I was instantly addicted. I started wearing all different colors. Even white at one point – eeks! To this day, eyeliner is still my saving grace. I particularly love the cat eye.

Here are the products that I carry around in my bag, which is from my recently launched Nicky Hilton x Linea Pelle capsule collection. The purse pictured above is the Bowery Crossbody in Haircalf.

Rosebud Salve ($6) is something I can’t live without. I think I reapply it over 20 times a day; I’m not exaggerating! I can’t even imagine how many tins I’ve gone through in my lifetime.

Make Up For Ever Duo Mat Powder Foundation ($34) is always with me. It’s a nice consistency and leaves skin lightly powdered without looking like I’m wearing makeup.

Charlotte Tilbury makes great eyeshadows. I’m loving Fallen Angel ($65). It creates the ultimate sexy smokey eye.

Algenist is a brand I just discovered. The Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50 ($20) is my favorite SPF because it’s light and doesn’t make me feel shiny or sticky. It goes under makeup perfectly.

Make Up For Ever Mattifying Primer ($36) is great. I dab it onto my T-zone to prevent shine.

Anastasia Brow Powder ($23) is something I wear every day. I’m blonde so my eyebrows are very light. This powder last all day. I would look browless without it.

Tweezers are always good to have handy. I’m definitely into groomed eyebrows. I love the slant and ease of Tweezerman ($23).

Tarte Lip Tints ($24) are great. They’re natural and brighten up your lips. The one I’m using now is LipSurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint ($24), which gives a personalized shade of pink to each mouth.

Anastasia Brow Gel ($22) is a must. It always keep my brows in tact.

Clé de Peau Concealer ($70) covers any imperfections. I use it for anything I want to hide.

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes ($9) is my favorite mascara. I prefer it to any of the expensive brands. It thickens and separates lashes amazingly.”

-Nicky Hilton; to order one of her new Linea Pelle bags, click here.


Makeup Bag: Odd Mom Out’s Byrdie Bell

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“The first time I remember playing with makeup was probably when I was 5 or 6. We were in Chicago and my Mom had this really pretty deco dressing room and I think it was more just to be closer to my Mom when she was getting ready to go out – just more fidgeting and then realizing, “Oh my gosh, all this stuff is so pretty, it’s like candy, I want to eat it.”  Playing with makeup was like playing with toys and I think I was immediately attracted to all of the colors and the various packaging. I didn’t really realize what makeup could do until I was in middle school and I got my first pimple and my Mom showed me what concealer was. We went to MAC and picked out the right color for me and it was really cool. I felt very grown up.

I guess I can say I started modeling young. My first show was for charity in Chicago when I was in first grade and I hated it.  By the time I started professionally modeling -it was later in life for me, like 21 – I think that by this point I was sort of done experimenting with makeup and all that kind of stuff. The experimentation period happened for me more in high school and, by the time I started modeling, it did feel more like work; but I still love seeing just how transformative makeup can be. As far as taking care of my own skin, because it’s put through hell when I’m one set, I’m sort of obsessive about not wearing any makeup and not washing my hair, just to counteract it. If I’m being honest, when I’m not working, wearing makeup has a tendency to feel like work.

My favorite is mascara and I like blush. For some reason, I really like pink cheeks. Lipstick is difficult for me, it’s hard to put on myself. But really, I have a lot of fun with contouring, like playing with bronzer and cheeks and shadows. And then mascara. But I don’t really like to black out my eyes with a lot of eyeliner so I try to avoid eyeliner. I used to really like wearing red lipstick and not wearing any eye makeup, and then a makeup artist not-so-discreetly – yet very politely – told me that maybe I should try to focus more on playing up my eyes and less on my lips. Maybe it is too harsh or aging? I’m not really sure, but I decided to listen to her.

Claudia Schiffer would have to be my beauty icon. I think there is something indefinable about her beauty. She’s able to be delicate, feminine, and ethereal, while maintaining a strong and imperfect sophistication. Claudia is also startling ageless.


Lumene Excellent Future Deep Repairing Serum: I found their products in North America 3 years ago. They’re a Finnish company and huge overseas so I’d known about them for years but didn’t have access to the products unless I was abroad. I’m hugely excited they’ve started carrying their products over here. My love affair started with the cleansing wipes. I thought, “These are really amazing and fresh and I like the packaging.” I bought a toner and when we made contact, I was like, “this is amazing!” I really wanted to work with them. They use all natural Arctic ingredients. I really love this serum with super rare stem cell technology.

Lumene Excellent Future Deep Repairing Eye Cream: It’s not too heavy. It doesn’t tighten my eyes. It’s really delicate, I can use it on my eyelid as well as around the eye. I use both this and the serum morning and night. The only thing I add differently in the morning is sunscreen Lumene Excellent Future Deep Repairing Face Cream at night.

Lumene Sensitive Touch Cleansing Wipes: They come in 10 pieces, which is like the small mini packs that fit in my makeup bag and then the large ones that you can keep on your counter. Those are really nice. I like to have these on me at all times so that as soon as I finish a shoot, I can wipe all of the makeup off. I wash my face morning and night, I try not to wash my face more than that because it dries out my skin. So this is a nice way to remove the makeup without the harsh effects of soap and water.

HD High Definition Elixir from Make Up For Ever: This is one of my favorites. I don’t know if you would call it makeup but you get it in the makeup section. It’s kind of the same consistency as the serum but you put it on over your makeup. So, if I have an audition or something where I have to have a little bit of makeup on so I don’t look dead, I like to put this on top of my makeup because it takes away that sort of matte look. I have really dry skin, so it’ll make it a little more dewy and glowy, which is what I prefer for skin — as opposed to matte. You know how your skin looks really amazing right after you put moisturizer on and then it’s gone? This maintains that dewiness throughout the day.

Lancome High Definition Finishing Mascara in Deep Black: If I could only use one makeup product, it would be mascara. My favorite at the moment is the Lancome High Definition Finishing Mascara in Deep Black. The reason why I like it is because it has a really long, thin wand, so it doesn’t get clumpy. I can use it on my lower lashes, which is where I like to wear mascara because I don’t wear eyeliner. And then if I want to have a darker, bolder eye at night, I can layer it.

DiorShow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum:  If I have time, I will put this on before my mascara to make the lash fuller, so again, this helps to take away that clumpy look. The concept is the same as one of those lip plumping products, but for your eyelashes. It’s kind of clear white and just builds a fake architecture that extends the eyelash before you put on mascara.

Bourjois Blush in Rose: I like it mainly because it’s a good blush and because of the packaging. It’s really small, perfect, and there’s a little brush that fits right on top of the little pot. Trick to share when applying blush: Smile really big so that you apply the blush directly on to the apples of the cheeks. And only on to the apples of the cheeks because it makes it look more natural.

NARS Triple X Lip Gloss in Clear: I like to keep my lips natural, so I don’t actually use this to make my lips look glossy, I just put a dab in the center of my upper and lower lip and that gives the effect of a bigger lip. I learned this trick from a makeup artist on one of my shoots. It really does work!

Stella McCartney Eau de Parfum Travel Spray: That’s my perfume and the travel size fits in my makeup bag. I’ve been wearing this since high school, though I switched it up twice in between, to Ralph Lauren Blue and Chanel Coco. I think one of the reasons that I like it so much is because it’s so difficult to describe. It’s really unique. It’s not too fruity, it’s not floral, it’s not musky. I would say it’s really modern and moody.”

-Actress Byrdie Bell of Bravo’s Odd Mom Out


About Beauty Banter
Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.